Honors Gallery

X-Band MicroSatCom Terminal

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2011

Award Type:

Region: Northeast

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) - Information Directorate

A superior portable satellite communications terminal used by soldiers in the field is an Air Force technology transfer success story. This terminal is designed to access X-band and Ka-band radio frequencies through the Department of Defense’s (DOD) high-capacity Wideband Global SATCOM satellites, in a portable package previously unavailable to the soldier.

The X-Band MicroSatCom Terminal comprises three state-of-the-art advancements in portable satellite communications systems, including: an advanced antenna reflector with segmented “petals” that quickly unfold to operate the terminal and just as quickly re-fold for compact stowage and easy transport; the application of advanced nanomaterials technologies to allow for the production of lightweight, rugged, highly efficient antenna reflectors; and a technique for integrating these nanomaterials into an inexpensive thermoplastic molding process.

David Legare was instrumental in coordinating the development of these three innovations, and he employed several different mechanisms to transfer the technology to his private sector partners. Initially, under the DOD’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Legare oversaw and coordinated the efforts of other SOCOM awardees working on various aspects of the terminal. He also presented SOCOM with his own team’s design ideas, which ultimately were selected as the model for the terminal.

Legare then worked closely with two of the other SOCOM awardees to integrate the new antenna technologies into their designs. He also worked with Eclipse Composites to make evolutionary improvements to the antenna system. This cooperation continues under Eclipse’s license of Legare’s patent-pending segmented reflector design, as well as through a 2010 Cooperative Research and Development Agreement enabling the two parties to develop additional enhancements to the application of these reflective nanomaterials.